If your child comes down with the flu, you’re going to want to take the right steps in order to help alleviate their symptoms and to keep others from catching the flu as well (the flu is highly contagious after all). However, it can sometimes be difficult to identify whether a child has the flu or a simple cold since the symptoms can be similar in the beginning stages.
Signs of the Flu
The following are a few signs that your child has the flu that you should keep an eye out for:
- The symptoms of the flu are often much worse than that of a cold when they first come on. A cold often starts with a sore throat and a bit of stuffiness. The flu begins much more suddenly. If your child has a fever and chills – and is complaining of feeling achy and uncomfortable – then it’s likely that they’ve caught the flu.
- Other symptoms of the flu that your child may experience after a few days include fatigue, body aches, a sore throat, a dry cough and a runny or stuffy nose. Most colds aren’t going to cause much of a fever and rarely are associated with body aches of any kind.
- A cold will typically only last between three and ten days. The flu can last anywhere from one to three weeks.
- If your child is unable to let you know what their specific symptoms are, you can often tell that they may have the flu by their behavior. A child that seems to be sick, sleepy and less hungry than usual may have the flu.
- Older children who are able to tell you about their symptoms are likely to complain about a sore throat and may refuse liquids and foods because it hurts to swallow. They may also appear very tired and uncomfortable in general.
What You Should Do
The following are some of the steps that you should take if you think that your child has the flu.
- First of all, take your child out of school because they are contagious.
- Make sure your child gets lots of rest.
- Make sure your child drinks lots of liquids to keep them hydrated.
- If they have a fever that lasts for more than three to four days, bring them to a doctor. The flu can in some cases lead to a sinus infection, ear infection or even pneumonia.
- If your child complaints about ear pain, trouble breathing or symptoms that won’t go away and are getting worse, bring them to a doctor as well.
- You can give your child acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help reduce their discomfort by lowering their fever and reducing body aches. However, do not give them aspirin. Aspirin has been linked to Reye’s syndrome in both children and teenagers.
Urgent Care Center in Greensboro, NC
If you think your child has the flu and you want professional medical advice, bring them into our MEDIQ Urgent Care facility in Greensboro, whether you have an appointment or not.